Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Night Shift by Alex Finlay. A sincere big thank you to the publisher Head of Zeus for the invitation to read and review this novel that I enjoyed very much!
What connects a massacre at a Blockbuster video store in 1999 with the murder of four teenagers fifteen years later?
It’s New Year’s Eve of 1999 when four teenagers working late are attacked at a Blockbuster video store in New Jersey. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, four more teenagers are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.
In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre, who is forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who is convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller, who must delve into the secrets of both nights to uncover the truth about the Night Shift Murders…
I really enjoyed Every Last Fear so I was thrilled with the chance to read Alex Finlay’s second novel The Night Shift. An added bonus for me was the setting of part of the story in the late 90’s, an era I love reading about. I confess I’m nostalgic like that. It’s been a long time but I vaguely remember that I visited the local video store quite a lot back then. I can still see the rows and rows of grey video cassettes behind the counter. I don’t quite remember the person manning the station but it could very well have been someone like Steve, the first person who was introduced in the novel. Following his interactions with his employees I was already going through a lot of emotions before the story had well and truly started.
If you enjoyed Finlay’s first novel you’ll certainly going to enjoy this one too. Just like in his first novel The Night Shift dives into the action right away. The term slowly easing in definitely isn’t in this author’s dictionary :-). I love this style of writing and I simply couldn’t protect myself from reeling! Right when you think you’ll get to know a character better and you start to feel an affinity he’ll kill them off! The lead up to murder was short and the shock value was high. I was dying to know WHY and WHO asap.
The investigation was really compelling with the past history linked to the present with another serial killing 15 years later. I don’t know what the secret ingredient exactly was, whether it was the pace, the plot or something else but it had me hooked! I also loved there were so many different characters to intrigue me as a reader. There are two final girls, a suspect on the run for 15 years, the brother of the suspect who still believes he’s innocent and of course FBI agent and 8-month pregnant Sarah Keller assigned to work the case with Union County detective Atticus Singh. They are a wonderful duo even if it felt a bit of a strange combination at first, they really were great together. Several of these characters are looking for answers though, not only the FBI so with the race for solving these mysteries on, it made for very animated reading.
With the different POV’s switching at high speed I didn’t have much time to think things through but I didn’t want to take a break from reading to start analysing everything that I read so it’s not so surprising that I missed the who and why entirely. Maybe the why could have been expanded a little more but the story had deaths, danger, secrets, lies… everything you need for a great book. All of this combined with a very skilled writer who loves to do things just a little differently, someone who doesn’t always take the beaten path in writing (he isn’t even on Twitter btw), makes this one well worth reading.
I find Alex Finlay a bit of an understated author and I’m happy I was introduced to his work. I already can’t wait to read his next book!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Head of Zeus via Netgalley. This is as always my honest opinion.